Experts to discuss county land exchange policy

By Real Aspen
September 29, 2010

Two well-known land management experts with different perspectives, along with a noted land appraiser and journalist, will participate on a panel in a joint meeting of Pitkin County Commissioners and the Open Space Board to discuss a proposed land exchange policy for Pitkin County.

“After the recent Wexner land exchange controversy, we decided everyone could benefit from a policy that clearly expresses what can be expected when someone asks Pitkin County to request that Congress exchange public lands in the future,” said Director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, Dale Will.

Leslie Wexner

Sitting on the panel will be Western Lands Project’s Janine Blaeloch, an environmental activist and planner in both private and public sectors. Her work includes preparation and analysis of numerous U.S. Forest Service environmental impact statements and planning documents. Western Land Group’s Adam Poe will bring his extensive background in both private and public sector planning and conservation to the meeting. Poe has completed dozens of transactions involving the acquisition of conservation properties in Colorado and throughout the West. Also joining the panel will be land appraiser Mark Weston, best known for his work with conservation easements and Ed Marston, former editor of High Country News.

"Privatizing and disposing of public Forest Service or BLM land in our valley is permanent. Determining which land exchange proposals confer net public benefits and deserve County endorsement, and which do not, requires a public process with useful standards. This forum should help to insure that the correct standards are adopted,” said Open Space and Trails Board Chair, Tim McFlynn.

The meeting comes against the backdrop of controversy over Ohio businessman Leslie Wexner, the CEO of Limited Brads, and his wife's proposal to swap 1,268 acres of Bureau of Land Management property south of Carbondale for their 520 acres north of Carbondale.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend this meeting to hear the debate, ask questions and offer input as Pitkin County works to craft its new Land Exchange Policy. The meeting will be held at the Aspen Institute on Tuesday, October 5th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the Koch Building, Lauder Room. It will be televised for playback on CGTV Channel 11. For more information call 920-5232.

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